The crack in the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, is getting deeper and plots to edge out the former vice president and party flagbearer, Atiku Abubakar by the southern party members intensifies. Atiku had over the weekend, during his visit to his former boss, Olusegun Obasanjo boasted that he would emerge as the opposition party’s standard-bearer for next year’s presidential election.
One of his game plans is to dump his former running mate, Peter Obi and pick his arch-rival, Governor Nyesom Wike of River State, so he can keep everyone in check.
According to a reliable source, Atiku decided to dump Peter Obi because he allegedly made little financial contributions to the 2019 campaign purse as well as inability to win his state Anambra and the South East for the party in the presidential election.
It was also argued that Peter Obi didn’t have a strong political structure outside the South-East. People just loved him because of his vast knowledge of the economy, winning an election goes beyond all that
However, Atiku’s targeted running mate, Wike seems not to be ready to play second fiddle to anyone but to be the key player in the coming election.
Coincidentally, the eastern PDP are equally tired of backing northern candidates and have decided to dump the party should Atiku win the presidential primaries.
According to them, Atiku has been vying for presidency for 30 years and has succeeded to serve in the capacity of a vice president for 8 years. It is therefore time for him to retire from elective politics and play the role of a statesman.
Ohanaeze Ndigbo, an eastern socio-political movement went ahead to warn that Atiku will be swimming against the political tide if he decides to work against a presidential candidate from the South.
According to the PDP members from the east, Atiku has misread the mood of the nation ahead of 2023, and this miscalculation may retire him from partisan politics in 2023.
They said that Atiku has the constitutional right to aspire for the office of President in 2023, but one expected him not to rock the boat now that the odds are against him based on his age and his region.
He was advised not to fight dirty or appear desperate for the Presidency; rather, it’s time for him to voluntarily quit partisan politics and take his rightful place in history as an elder statesman without being dishonoured and disgraced.
As it stands, the southeast is in line with Wike’s aspirations because of the resources available to him.
A source in the PDP South-East told City People that, to successfully run an election in this country you need money, connection, strong and vast political structure, etc, and these you find in abundance in Nyesom Wike.
He is a good material any day and that’s not the kind of man you leave behind, especially if you want to win an election in Nigeria.
There is no doubt that Wike has a record of preserving his stronghold any day and anytime. The 2019 gubernatorial elections in Rivers that sealed his second term as a governor was a very tough one and he stood strong to protect the state from the APC. He is still a force to reckon with in the whole of the south. He is also more like the last man standing when it comes to firing verbal political missiles against the ruling party. This is why Atiku wants him as his vice, and this is the same reason he (Wike) has refused to be tossed around and be decided for.
He is all out to edge out former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, erstwhile Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and other possible contenders for the party’s ticket from the North.
Multiple high-level party sources told City People that Wike, who they described as the sole financier of the main opposition party has reached out to many of his colleagues on this agenda to zone the party ticket to the South.
Aside from Atiku Abubakar, there are 2 other sitting governors who are members of the party and are also interested in the PDP presidential ticket. They are Governors of Sokoto, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal and Bauchi, Bala Mohammed.
Also interested in the ticket are former Senate President, Bukola Saraki and Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, former Governor of Kano State. Kwankwaso has already seen the possible outcome that may favour Wike and has since fashioned out an alternative platform through the third force where he can contest.
Let’s recall that Wike played a key role in the emergence of Iyorchia Ayu-led National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), after sacking the Uche Secondus-led executive.
Wike, as it stands, also has the support of the governors, the most influential power bloc, under the umbrella of the PDP Governors’ Forum.
Through the scheming and machinations of the 13 governors of the party, 18 out of the 21 positions were filled through consensus. This clearly shows that the governors have taken over the soul of the main opposition party ahead of the 2023 politicking. And out of the 13 governors, 9 are from the South.
The 13 governors are; Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), Ahmadu Fintiri (Adamawa), Udom Emmanuel (Akwa Ibom), Bala Muhammed (Bauchi), Douye Diri (Bayelsa), Samuel Ortom (Benue), Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta), Godwin Obaseki (Edo), Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu), Nyesom Wike (Rivers), Seyi Makinde (Oyo), Aminu Tambuwal (Sokoto) and Darius Ishaku (Taraba).
There are also reports that Wike has recruited five of his colleagues into his presidential project.
Wike is believed to have the support of governors Benue, Enugu, Oyo, Abia and Adamawa.
In his camp now, he has five governors. Nobody can challenge him now because according to reports, he has been funding the party. This means that Wike has total control of the NWC of the PDP.
This is why Wike said that the outcome of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential primaries will astound Nigerians.